One of my Nana traditions with my grandchildren is to go to Gabriel’s – a local well known establishment that has been a part of Marietta since 1996. Gabriel’s is owned by Johnnie Gabriel and started out as a fabulous bakery. The menu choices have grown over the years and now they also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Gabriel’s has the best Kid’s Meals dinners (our favorite – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich perfectly balanced with a fruit cup and glass of milk). We must have dessert, of course, and they always want a cake pop….. decorated with sprinkles!!
I quickly realized that I could either fix their dinner at my condo which would involve cleaning up the mess; wiping up sticky peanut butter and spilled milk; and having an inferior dessert or, I could take them to Gabriel’s which is 5 minutes from my condo.
As you can guess, we are frequent customers.
Gabriel’s is located in a nice strip mall. As we turn into the parking lot, there are 3 sets of speed bumps for us to drive over. I understand the reasons behind speed bumps but that does not mean I like dealing with them.
I do not like slowing down and creeping over them and so forth. I often grumble when I am driving over speed bumps and will weave around different parking lot rows to avoid them. I view them as pain-in-the-neck obstacles.
But not my grandson—at age 3, he views the speed bumps with pure joy.
Before we even turn into the parking lot, he is saying (very loudly may I add) “Bump-a-Dee Bumps, Nana, Bump-a-Dee Bumps!!” and he craning his neck to look out the front windshield to see if we are going to go over the “Bump-a-Dee Bumps”. As we make our way over each set, he laughs out loud and wants to know if there are more!
He doesn’t see speed bumps for what they are—annoying obstacles in our way…. something to slow us down.
No, his full-of-wonder brain and sense of reckless abandon towards life is such that he views them as an amusement park ride—something to be excited about.
And as I hear the excitement in his voice, I am reminded of Nana’s Rule #10—Your Attitude is Your Choice and I become aware that my grandson is teaching his Nana about the meaning of her rule.
We all have struggles….. we all have speed bumps to deal with. There are times that sadness and rejection and anger can overwhelm us. I understand that.
We all have days where we feel like life has slapped us on the side of the head or kicked our legs out from us.
As noted in my October post (In the Meantime….. What Do You Do When Your Life is Stuck in the Wrong Place), we can be stuck in an “In the Meantime” moment where we are dealing with a season of life where our problems seem to have no solutions or where or life may never be the same.
It is easy to give in to anger or resentment. It is easy to give in to fear or self-pity.
Or perhaps our “In the Meantime” season of life is not a dramatic one but it is merely that living life has worn us down….. the sameness and routines of life have made it dramatically dull. Things are not awful but neither they are great.
Our lives are tepid—they are not hot nor cold but merely lukewarm. We keep swimming upstream and we are not drowning but we are treading water and growing tired of doing so.
I understand all those feelings about life and about obstacles. I made “Your Attitude is Your Choice” one of my pivotal 12 Nana’s Rules for a very important reason and that is because there is power and life-changing forces behind the acceptance of that rule.
If you actively choose your attitude then you can choose/decide how to face life.
And if you can choose a positive attitude, then circumstances will not rule and control you. It is hard for life to defeat you if you face it with grace and strength and a sense of humor.
And my grandson reminds me of that. Those speed bumps are still in the parking lot. They are not going away. I can continue to drive and grumble and fuss when I go over the speed bumps….. I can try to avoid them and think negative thoughts as I drive around them.
Or, I can be like him. I can face those speed bumps head on. I can view them as something other than obstacles. I can follow my grandson’s example….. to take a negative and turn it into something positive…..and to laugh about it.
One thing I do know……his laughter and joy is contagious and he, in his own small way, has taught me a lesson about Nana’s Rule #10….. I will forever view speed bumps with a different and positive attitude…. and each time I slowly drive over them, his joyful words will echo in my heart ……
“Bump-a-Dee Bumps, Nana, Bump-a-Dee Bumps!”